Wilde Observations # 23

A tossed salad of poetry, art and ideas

Photo by Joshua K. Jackson on Unsplash

One should always be a little improbable.” — Oscar Wilde

The Streaker

If you were to measure the reality of your college experience vs. your expectations, how divergent would these two entities be? Just curious.

I went to school at Ohio U in the fall of 1970. Anti-war sentiments were higher than ever on college campuses, especially after Kent State the previous spring. (“Four dead in Ohio…” CSNY)

A hundred memories come to mind from my four years attending what some have designated an A-list party school. (If I didn’t know this when I applied, living in the #1 party dorm on campus that first year quickly removed all doubts.)

Fast forward to my story. One of the super hit fads that was birthed while I was in school was Streaking. The History Channel describes The Streaking Phenomenon this way:

In the fall semester of 1973, an unusual fad was born on college campuses called “streaking,” in which students would strip naked and sprint past crowds of people, often with police or security guards in pursuit. A live report from Memphis State University, where two football players had been arrested for streaking the night before, catches another streaking event in action.

To be honest, I don’t recall precisely when the Ohio U Streaker made his appearance, but the event unfolded like this.

The word was out. Streakers from the West Green were going to streak around The Monument on the main campus green, sometime before midnight. The Monument is one of those mainstays of our Ohio U experience, located just inside the entrance of the main gate, a symbol of our history, etc. What Bobcat grad hasn’t set on the steps there and done a little people watching?

As the evening progressed a crowd began to assemble. And as you know, when a crowd begins to assemble passersby become curious.

“Hey, what’s happening?”

“There’s gonna be a pack of streakers from the West Green.”


“Tonight. Sometime before midnight.”

Anticipation grows. So does the crowd. But time passes slowly and by 11:30 a restlessness sets in.

No doubt they chickened out, we start thinking. Then suddenly, it happens. There’s a stir. There’s muttering. There’s laughter. And out of the darkness a bearded long-hair with white pasty skin comes clattering up on a bicycle, buck naked. The handlebars quaver a moment as he pedals erratically through the crowd, which parts for him like the Red Sea.

And just like that, he’s swallowed up by the night.

The moral of the story? It was what it was.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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